Preventing Employee Burnout in Healthcare

3 min read
Dec 25, 2019

Everyone in the HR world is talking about employee engagement

And it’s not difficult to see why. If you’re a strong leader and can engage your employees, they can produce demonstrable benefits like increased profits, reduced expenses, and improved retention rates. 

But there’s at least one industry where employee engagement is actually a matter of life and death:



When it comes to employee engagement in healthcare, HR professionals are less concerned with revenue than they are with factors like patient mortality and critical labor shortages.


What Is Employee Burnout?

Burnout is the result of prolonged stress at work. It’s caused by a lack of employee engagement. 

And, according to the World Health Organization, it’s a genuine medical condition.

The WHO lists three main symptoms of employee burnout: 

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

In healthcare, that last bullet — reduced professional efficacy — can have major consequences. 


Why Employee Engagement Matters in Healthcare

Here's an interesting fact for you:

Did you know that the engagement level of nurses is the number one predictor of patient mortality rates?

That's right. Even more than the number of nurses on staff. More than overtime hours worked.

That's how important engagement is when caring for patients.

But when we talk about current trends in employee engagement in healthcare, we’re not just talking about nurses. 

And — while it’s extremely important — patient mortality isn’t the only metric healthcare organizations use to judge success, especially outside of hospital settings. 

Here’s the truth: 

Any employee that interacts with patients has an opportunity to affect key outcomes like patient satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. 

But a huge factor — maybe the biggest factor — in whether those effects are positive or negative is the engagement level of the employee.

The numbers back this up: 

One survey of healthcare professionals found that 85% of engaged employees displayed a genuinely caring attitude toward patients, while only 38% of disengaged employees did

When you understand that, you understand why employee engagement isn’t a nice-to-have — it’s a bona fide necessity. 


How to Increase Employee Engagement in Healthcare

When you talk about engagement in abstract terms, it can be easy to forget what’s really being discussed isn’t numbers on a spreadsheet.

It’s real human feelings. 

Employee engagement is, to put it simply, the level of personal investment a person has in their work. The most reliable way to increase engagement is to build a culture that can foster personal investment. 

That means creating a workplace environment where transparency, fairness, and recognition are truly valued. 

But a positive shift in company culture doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly doesn’t happen from the top down. 

Healthcare managers and HR professionals need a way to identify and fix the issues causing the most frustration among employees.

They need a way to track progress toward goals.

They need a way to allocate resources more effectively. 

And, importantly, they need a way to implement cultural changes across large and distributed organizations

That’s where technology comes in. 


Using Technology to Prevent Employee Burnout in Healthcare

You can use employee engagement platforms to help meet these goals. 

Platforms that include sentiment analysis tools like anonymous employee surveys can help you identify the underlying issues that are leading to disengagement and burnout. 

Some platforms even break down analysis by job title, location, or department. You can use this data to guide the strategic planning of engagement initiatives. 

Many employee engagement platforms run in web or mobile environments, with customizable user experiences. You can use these cloud-based tools to reach employees throughout the organization, even in remote locations. 

Through a mobile interface, management can push surveys and announcements to employees wherever they are. 

Employees can also leave tips and suggestions, as well as feedback on initiatives, giving a voice to workers who may not have much face time with decision makers. 

Plus, good employee engagement platforms let managers and HR professionals track engagement over time. 

By consistently asking key questions and visualizing response data, leaders can understand whether their engagement initiatives are working, and how well.

Then, If they’re not moving the needle, then they can adjust their strategy accordingly. 



There are many employee engagement platform options out there, but the best ones, like TINYpulse, use automation to make sure HR professionals and managers spend the least amount of time on administrative processes and the most amount of time making work better for their employees. 

Request a demo to see how TINYpulse could improve engagement in your healthcare organization.


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